Kristen Nygaard

Born 1926, Oslo, Norway; with Ole-Johan Dahl, the developer of the programming language SIMULA, which introduced the basic concept of "classes" into the field.

Education: MS, 1956.

Professional Experience: Norwegian Defense Research Establishment: staff member, 1948-1960, head, operation research groups, 1957-1960; Norwegian Computing Center: staff member, 1960-1975, director of research, 1962-1975; professor, Aarhus University, 1975-1976; professor, University of Oslo, 1976-present.

Nygaard became director of research at the Norwegian Computing Center in 1962 with the responsibility of building up the center as a research institute, and later added the responsibilities for work in operations research and the development of SIMULA I and SIMULA 67. After working on SIMULA 67, he did research for the Norwegian trade unions on planning, control, and data processing, all evaluated in the light of the objectives of organized labor. Other research and development work included the social impact of computer technology, the general system description language DELTA, and the programming language BETA. His work at Aarhus and Oslo included research and education on systems development and the social impact of computer technology. He is a member of the research committee of the Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions and has cooperated with trade unions in several countries. [From Nygaard and Dahl 1981.]


"We often quoted the story about the two businessmen debating whether to locate an important software project in the US or in Europe, the question being settled by the remark 'We have to locate the project in Europe since in the US it is not possible to put together a sufficiently small team."' (Nygaard and Dahl 1981)



Nygaard, Kristen, and Ole-Johan Dahl, "The Development of the SIMULA Languages," in Wexelblat, Richard L., ed., History of programming Languages, Academic Press, New York, 1981.

Significant Publications

Dahl, 0., and K. Nygaard, "SIMULA--An Algol Based Simulation Language," Comm. ACM, Vol. 9, No. 9, Sept. 1966, pp. 671-682.


Kirsten Nygaard won the Turing Award in 2001. (MRW, 2013)

Kristen Nygaard died on August 10, 2002 in Oslo. (THVV, 2017)

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